Audacity - Hints and tips thread.

Have wanted to do this for a while, not just to put Replay through it's paces, but also because we are always recommending Audacity as a free recording tool, yet it can be a bit of an intimidating beast. I use it on a daily basis and have done for years, and STILL find it a bit intimidating, and would like to learn from others.

So.. anyone can show their Hints and Tips in here, record it in whatever format you can, but helps if they are very focused, and we can see the software being used.

I'll start off with "How to save time when moving around a sound file".

30 Replies
Cromerty York

Hi Bruce - this where you can find the Nyquist add-ons:

They will install under the Effect menu. There are a whole heap of options, which I have never tried (evil devil voice anyone?), although I have used the clip fix too.

Unfortunately, I've never used ScreenCam, but here's a screen shot:

If your room's is set up right, and your equipment is decent and wired up correctly, then what you will be removing here is really mains hum (you can hear this very clearly if you highlight what you think is a piece of silence in your track, and turn up the volume. It sounds sort of similar to a hum, or even a gurgling sound. On your own monitors/headphones this can be ok at normal levels, but if you are broadcasting to a large room, it can be obvious).

Noise-gating will close the sound gate (as it were) after a piece of dialog, then open it again when you start talking once more. You can make it abrupt, or set it to an acceptable level by playing with the sliders. (Take a note of the settings before you start, or look on Audacity Wiki to set them back again if you need to).

Personally, I leave them at the default settings, apart from Gate threshold which I tend to set to about -50.

My normal process for clean audio is

- Remove breaths and clicks

- Noise Removal

- Compress

- Leveling (especially if I have done a lot of screaming - it happens)

- Normalize (to -3db)

- Noise-gate

[Some men, ie with a strong bass voice, may also add a little reverb, to compensate for acquiring the dead sound of a well-bolstered linen closet (on a female voice this tends to be a bit too echoe-y)].

Hope this helps!

Cromerty York

And I know this is the wrong place....but Studio One is a fantastic piece of software for recording long reads (ie longer than 10 mins), as it supports punch and roll.

There is a demo here, which got me started straight away:

For my long reads, I use this, record and then do the above editing on Audacity. "Punch and Roll" is a way of recording so that if you make a flub, you can stop the record and click to move the cursor back to where you made the mistake.The software plays the previous 2 seconds of sound, and then starts to record. It means that you don't need to edit out just need to edit out breaths and mouth-clicks, which are quite easy to see.

[Incidentally, I have a dummy file I keep in Audacity of labelled words such as "Night", "Step", "blob", as those last letters are the ones I sometimes edit out by mistake (thinking they are mouth clicks or breaths) means I can just pop across to this file, and copy the bit of sound across without having to re-record].

Meryem M

This thread has explanation of how to rip audio from an mp4 video to import into Audacity.  

Dougal Mair said:

I also agree this would be a great feature request. My post is probably a bit late for Doug, but it may help others.

As I use Audacity for recording my narration, here is how I edit the sound (mainly normalizing and noise removal) in my screencasts:

1. Record the screencast in Replay, or in a separate Storyline project (so you don't have to publish your whole project just to get the mp4 video file), and publish it - this will give you the mp4 video file.

2. Import the audio from the mp4 file into Audacity (you need the "FFmpeg" library installed - follow the instructions provided when you click "download" in Preferences -> Libraries under Audacity's Edit menu).

3. Edit the audio in Audacity, but do not change the length of the audio track so that the audio stays in synch with you video. (Tip: you can also change the audio from stereo to mono to reduce the file size too if you like).

4a. You can then export the audio track (using Audacity's default WAV file format) and use it in your Storyline slide (synched with the video on the timeline and making sure you mute the video's sound).

4b. Or, (this is what I do) export the audio as a M4A (AAC) file (ability the FFmpeg library in Audacity also provides) and then use a MP4 Muxer/Demuxer program (I use My MP4Box Gui) to demux (split the audio and video into two files) the MP4 file (from step 1. above) and then mux (combine the demuxed video file with the new M4A audio file) the video and new audio back into a MP4 file which can be used to replace the screencast in your slide.

A bit more mucking around with doing 4b, but it ensures my audio is consistent across the whole project and it helps keep the project's file sizes down.

Hope this helps someone.